Published 12:03 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

Seynonie Parker uses the Read to Succeed Lab to get ahead in her reading skills. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Seynonie Parker uses the Read to Succeed Lab to get ahead in her reading skills. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

PHS receives $3K for reading lab

Connie Karthaus’s dream for her students at Pleasant Home came true in the form of a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The small school received the $3,000 grant and turned it into a Read to Succeed Lab for elementary students in grades 2-6. The lab uses the intervention programs Odyssey, STRIDE and other programs that were purchased to help students.

Karthaus, a reading coach at PHS, said the big thing at the school was reading and math.

“We have a program called Odyssey, but we didn’t know how to use it effectively in our classrooms,” she said. “We didn’t have the time or materials to use it.”

Karthaus said she’s going to school to be an administrator, and one of her big projects is performing research on how best to use things in schools to meet the need of its students.

“Research indicates that children learn best from teachers from teachers in the classroom that are teaching strategically,” she said. “However, research also shows that if we can back that learning up with technology, they have a better chance of retaining what they were taught. After looking at data for several children, I realized that this lab was something our children could benefit from greatly at Pleasant Home.”

The lab now has 18 computers. Karthaus said she had seven computers to start with and a couple were given from other places. Six of the computers were bought with the grant.

In addition to the new computers, the grant helped purchase headphones, computer games and mice for the computers.

For 30 minutes a day, students from different grade levels sit at terminals and work on reading or math that pertains to the common core standards that have been added to the program.

Karthaus said the lab serves as a reminder for students.

“I’ve had people from the state department come in here and look at what they’re doing,” she said, adding that the regional coach has watched the program and is in love with it.

Karthaus said the program teaches the students and if they don’t get it or pass the tests, they can take it all over again.

Sitting quietly at his terminal focusing on the task at hand was fifth grader Brodie Maddox.

Maddox said the program has helped his grades, a lot.

“It’s helped me a lot and helped me up my grades,” Maddox said.

Like all of the other students, Maddox said he can’t wait to get in the lab and focus on learning.

“It’s just upped all of my grades,” he said. “It’s helped me understand a lot of stuff.”

Sitting two spots from Maddox is Seynonie Parker.

Parker said the program has helped her learn more.

“It’s exciting,” she said.

Karthaus filled out the paperwork for the grant last March and didn’t get a notice until August.

At first, she received a piece of mail saying that she had gotten the grant, but it turned out to be a scam.

But, upon learning that she did in fact get the grant, Karthaus said she was ecstatic.

“I was like oh my gosh, what do we do with all of this?” she said. “The kids were excited about it at the time. At the time two of our older computers were broken, and at that particular point, we didn’t have this set up. It was a scramble to get them working. Once we got this going, they’ve asked everyday what we’re going to do in the lab. They’re whole attitude has changed. They look forward to it.”

It’s just made a huge difference, Karthaus added.

The youth literacy grants from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that are awarded at the beginning of the academic year help provide teachers, schools and organizations with the funding and resources they need to properly begin the school year.